Full Freezer Once Again

The freezer at our house is the fullest it’s been in months.

No, I haven’t been cooking up a storm. We just finally got a load of ground beef from our beef-producing friends.

So, with this bounty of beef, and since the weather continues to be unseasonably cool, I decided last night to cook up a big batch of meatballs. I found this meatball recipe in a Taste of Home publication a number of years ago, and, like many recipes, I have modified it slightly to suit our needs.

What I especially liked is that I could make up a big batch, freeze the meatballs, and pull out what I need for a quick supper. Most often we use the meatballs for meatball sandwiches, either mixing up homemade barbecue sauce from ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard and some spices, or using bottled sauce. But the meatballs can also be used for spaghetti & meatballs, or as the original recipe suggested, in a sweet & sour sauce over rice (never tried that one).

I use a cookie scoop — not the smallest size but the next one up — to turn out a bunch of meatballs in a short amount of time. I think the original recipe said it would make about 120 meatballs; last night the full batch made about 100. That’s still a whole lot of meatballs! (If you don’t want to make the full batch, this is one that can be easily divided, using one egg and ½ cup bread crumbs for each pound of ground beef.)

Make-Ahead Meatballs

In a large (make that huge) bowl, combine 4 pounds ground beef; 2 cups seasoned bread crumbs; one onion, chopped fine; 4 eggs, lightly beaten with about ¼ cup water or skim milk; 1 tablespoon salt; 1 teaspoon ground black pepper. Mix lightly, just until combined.

Using a scoop or your hands, lightly form mixture into small (about 1½-inch) balls — use a light touch, packing the meat will make it tough — and place on a rimmed baking sheet. (I got about 2 dozen on each of my pans.)

Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until well browned, turning once. Remove from pan immediately and place on paper toweling or a rack to drain off excess fat. When cool, place in a single layer on a wax paper-lined sheet and freeze until solid. Remove to freezer bags.

Take out what you need to make sandwiches, pasta, etc.